With BBQ season firmly upon us, smoked beer is never far from my mind. And since my BBQ beans cooked with Beavertown Smog Rocket porter went a while ago, I decided to tweak the recipe to make a rich, tangy BBQ sauce that I could store in my fridge in anticipation of my first BBQ of the year. I only made a few changes – a little less passata, a little more beer. Some added mushroom ketchup (which I use as a vegetarian alternative to Worcestershire sauce – if you don’t mind the anchovy content, you could use that instead) and tamarind sauce for extra depth and tang. And some chipotle chilli, for added smoke and a fiery kick.
Having used Smog Rocket already, I didn't want to go with the same beer this time around. Smoked porter is undoubtedly the way to go – the smoke is appropriate, and the roasted malts match the sweet treacle in the sauce. So this time I've opted for Five Points’ London Smoke. It’s a big beer in many ways – rich, boozy, full of coffee, chocolate and currant flavours, amongst others. The smoke is not hugely pronounced, but gives a meaty background that will work. It’s quite bitter, so an extra touch of sugar is needed.
The sauce tastes great. If you eat meat, I imagine this could make for a really special burger. And as you tuck into your juicy half-pounder, you might pity me with my dry, lifeless soya patty – but you needn't bother, because I've come to love the ‘hockey puck’ veggie burger. Especially with one of these on top.
- 1 chopped onion
- 1 tsp smoked garlic powder, or 2 cloves fresh smoked garlic, minced or crushed
- 1 tsp chipotle paste or half a dried chipotle chili, deseeded and finely chopped
- Generous pinch of smoked paprika
- Pinch of oregano
- 200ml Five Points London Smoke, or other smoked porter
- 150ml passata
- 1 tsp black treacle/molasses
- 2 tbsp tomato puree
- 1 tbsp soft dark brown sugar, plus an extra pinch
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 tsbp mushroom ketchup or Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp tamarind sauce
- Fry the onion on a medium heat for about 5 minutes, until soft and golden.
- Stir in the smoked garlic, chipotle, oregano and smoked paprika and fry for another minute or so.
- Add the passata and stir in all of the other ingredients and season. Retain a small amount of the beer (around 10-15ml) and keep to one side.
- Reduce the heat as far as possible whilst keeping the sauce at a simmer. Stir frequently to make sure it isn’t burning, and simmer for around an hour, or until thick, checking the seasoning several times. It’s unlikely to ever become quite as thick and gloopy as a bottled BBQ sauce, but use this consistency as a guide.
- Once you reach your desired consistency, remove the pan from the heat and set to one side to cool.
- Once cooled, transfer the sauce into a blender or food processor with the remaining beer. Once smooth, return to the blended sauce to the pan.
- Whilst the sauce reheats, wash and sterilise a jar. To do this, thoroughly wash the jar with washing up liquid and hot water, but don’t dry it. Then place it in the oven upside down on a baking tray and turn on the heat. After a few minutes, turn it the other way up. Keep checking it, and when the moisture has dried, remove it from the oven. Fill it with the warm sauce and fit the lid tightly. Once the jar has cooled, put it in the fridge until ready to serve.